The NIHR offers three awards through the Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme. Two awards are specifically for doctors and dentists, with the third expanded in 2024 to include other health and care professionals alongside doctors and dentists. The programme supports individuals to gain research experience as part of their clinical training.
NIHR funds approximately 278 Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) and 120 Clinical Lectureships (CLs) in medicine each year. Funding is also available for up to 23 ACFs and 11 CLs in dentistry each year.
ACF and CL posts are hosted by partnerships of medical/dental schools (and their partner universities), postgraduate deanery functions within the Local Offices of NHS England (NHSE), and their partner NHS organisations.
The third award type, the In-Practice Fellowship (IPF) funds Masters-level training for GPs and dentists in clinical practice and health and care professionals in a primary care setting.
If you’re a nurse, midwife or allied health professional, you should also refer to the NHSE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme page.
Academic Clinical Fellowship
The NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) is a clinical specialty training post in medicine or dentistry that incorporates academic training.
This post has a standard duration of 3 years (up to 4 years for GPs). Alternatively, it can be taken part-time and extended up to a maximum of 5 years (or 6 years for GPs), as long as the academic component remains at 25% whole time equivalent.
You will have access to Masters-level research training to develop your academic skills and equip you to balance your clinical academic career.
As an ACF you will spend:
- 75% of your time in specialist clinical training
- 25% of your time in research or educationalist training.
To be eligible for an ACF you must be:
- Medically or dentally qualified
- At the early stages of speciality training
- Able to demonstrate outstanding potential for a career as a clinical academic
- Able to meet the clinical specification for the advertised post.
A proportion of the ACF posts in medicine are awarded through the annual IAT Competition and these have research projects aligned to NIHR Priority Research Themes.
Details of other IAT funding rounds are available in funding opportunities.
NIHR ACF posts are advertised on Oriel and applications must be made via the online recruitment system.
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, interviews for NIHR ACF posts will now be held digitally.
Useful information for prospective applicants
- UK clinical academic training in medicine and dentistry: principles and obligations
- NHS Oriel Recruitment Portal
- NIHR IAT Priority Research Themes
The NIHR Clinical Lectureship (CL) is a post-doctoral award that provides a clinical and academic training environment for doctors and dentists to establish themselves as independent researchers and leaders.
This award has a standard duration of 4 years or until completion of clinical training (CCT/CCST) is reached, whichever is sooner. Alternatively, you can undertake the award part-time and for a maximum duration of 6 years, as long as the academic component does not fall below 33% of whole time equivalent.
As a CL you will spend:
- 50% of your time in specialist clinical training
- 50% in research or educationalist training.
To be eligible for a CL you must:
- Be in higher speciality training (medicine)
- Have completed a research doctorate (PhD) or equivalent
- Show outstanding potential for continuing a career in academic medicine or dentistry.
Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals should reference the NHSE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme.
From 17th January 2020: Please note that applications for Academic Clinical Lecturer posts (including NIHR Clinical Lecturer posts) require candidates to either hold a current National Training Number (NTN), or if a number is not held the candidate would need to clinically benchmark to be able to take up the post. Clinical benchmarking can be achieved through application for specialty training within the national recruitment window where the minimal appointable score must be achieved. Trainees are responsible for ensuring that their clinical application is submitted within the appropriate recruitment round to ensure that they are benchmarked before the date that the post needs to commence.
For further information please visit: HEE - Medical Specialty Recruitment 2022
The NIHR funds CLs in medicine through the IAT Competition to support Priority Research Themes.
2023 Medical CL Timetable
- Applications opened: 1 March 2023
- Applications close: 1 September 2024
Useful resources for potential applicants
- Extension process for CL posts
- Contact a IAT Lead
- Oriel Application Portal
- Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers
- Checking that a research idea is really novel - how to guide
Locally Funded Integrated Academic Training Posts
The NIHR will recognise locally funded posts developed by IAT partnerships providing they meet the following criteria relating to the appointment and support for doctors and/or dentists in schemes that:
- Appoint through national competition
- Offer 3 year ACF (4 years for GPs) and 4 year CL appointments with 25% and 50% protected academic training, respectively
- Provide access to formal training in research methods and research governance
- Have a joint clinical and academic Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)
- Provide similar supervision/mentorship arrangements for ACF and CL appointees
- Offer a £1k per annum travel bursary to attend conferences.
Individuals in NIHR recognised locally funded posts will be classed as NIHR Academy members.
To apply for NIHR recognition of a locally-funded ACF or CL please email IAT@nihr.ac.uk.
The NIHR In-Practice Fellowship (IPF) provides pre-doctoral academic training to fully-qualified general practitioners, general dental practitioners, community dentists and health and care professionals.
The eligibility for this scheme has been broadened in 2024 to cover all other health and care professionals working in a primary care setting, including (but not restricted to) nurses, midwives, pharmacists and health visitors, alongside doctors and dentists. This enhanced offer will enable a larger cohort of health and care professionals to access research training and development, to advance their academic research careers.
This award will equip you with the skills and experience to prepare an application for a competitive, peer-reviewed doctoral level research training fellowship.
You may have received little formal academic training at the point of application, but should be able to demonstrate your commitment to a career as a clinical academic.
As an awardee, you will split your time equally between a clinical position and the academic training funded through the award.
Funding competitions open annually and full round details are available in career development funding opportunities.
Useful resources for applicants
- Guidance Notes for each round can be found in our document library:
- In-Practice Fellowship Award Holders
- In-Practice Fellowship Selection Committee Members
- In-Practice Fellowship Chair's Report 2022
Latest case studies from the Academy
Latest documents for the Integrated Academic Training Programme
Latest funding opportunities for the Integrated Academic Training Programme